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Tech Snooper Accused of Privacy Invasion

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A man sued a technology company for privacy invasion, claiming it intercepted his email exchanges with a friend who was estranged from her husband, after the husband hired it to install the electronic snooping program on the woman's laptop. The man claims that Awareness Technologies' privacy invasion was criminal.

Alex Watkins sued Awareness Technologies in Superior Court. The married couple are not parties to the lawsuit.

Watkins says that in February 2010, Awareness helped William Feley install a "Key Stroke Logger program" called "WebWatcher" on a personal laptop belonging to his estranged wife, Donna Jane Terry Feley, without her knowledge.

"The program was used to download every email communication sent to and received by Jane Feley from February 15, 2010 through October 12, 2010, including several sent from and received by plaintiff," as well as instant messages and online chats, according to the complaint.

Watkins says the exchanges were personal, and that he and Jane Feley "have a lifelong friendship and confided in one another frequently during this tumultuous time period in their respective lives."

Watkins claims "there were over 900 files captured by the program which were uploaded to the WebWatcher website for subsequent downloading by William Feley and other third parties."

"WebWatcher operates through a multi-capture-ware software application which captures private information on a targeted user's computer, such as electronic communications, instant messages and chats, login and password data for various websites, and any other information capable of being captured through key logging and/or screen-shot imaging. Once the information is captured, it is encrypted and transferred onto a WebWatcher server, after which it is made available on the data.webwatcherdata. com website. It is then accessible by any WebWatcher who has proper login information."

Watkins says Awareness' actions were discovered when Jane Feley's computer was forensically investigated.

He demands an injunction, $5,000 in damages for each of 900 intercepted messages, and damages for invasion of privacy. He claims Awareness violated § California Penal Code § 630 et seq., the state Invasion of Privacy Act.

He is represented by Marian Bishay of Tustin.

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